By Barbara Falconer Newhall
Donald Trump has stepped in it again. And this time the manure comes from the elephant in the room — the pro-life room.
I’m hoping against hope that Donald Trump — pro-life, pro-choice or whatever he turns out to be — never sets foot in the White House. I’ve got lots of reasons, rational and irrational, but there’s neither time nor space to go into them here.
What I want to point out today is The Donald’s uncanny ability to upset the apple cart. Thanks to him, the Republican Party, once it regroups, will never be the same again.
The same goes for the pro-life movement; here’s why:
The pro-life/pro-choice conversation has been going on for decades. But I can’t think of a time, ever, when a politician has proposed that the woman who undergoes an illegal abortion should be considered guilty of a crime.
The Woman Who Gets an Abortion –She’s Guilty
All that changed abruptly earlier this week, when MSNBC’s Chris Matthews asked Trump some tough questions in an interview. Matthews pressed Trump on how things would go for women if abortion were made illegal in the future. Should a woman who has an abortion be held criminally responsible?
Yes, said Trump. “There has to be some form of punishment.” What that punishment should be, Trump couldn’t say.
Trump later backed off that position, stating “the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman,”
His words came too late. The scales had already fallen from my eyes. Before the Matthews interview, I (and a lot of other Americans?) had not noticed how the pro-life movement proposes to give a pass to a woman who gets an illegal abortion. It very carefully puts the entire criminal onus on the — faceless — provider.
I’m guessing that this strategy — never talked about, never copped to — is designed to keep rank-and-file pro-life women from disaffecting.
After all, if you are seeking to take away women’s right to decide what goes on in their bodies, you don’t tell women voters that you plan to make abortion a crime that could send them to prison — or worse. If abortion is murder, as some folks claim, what would be the fitting punishment? Five years in jail? Life? The death penalty?
BTW, Donald Trump Is Not Smart
On second thought, I’m going to mention one of the reasons Trump is not fit to be president: He’s not smart.
In their Wednesday interview, Matthews asked Trump whether “the man” should be punished if an illegal abortion takes place. Donald’s response was that, no, the man should not be punished.
I’m not much of a legal mind, but even I can see that if the man knows nothing about an illegal abortion, he hasn’t committed a crime. But if he assists in arranging an illegal abortion or helps pay for it, he’s clearly an accessory to the crime. And by Donald’s dim lights he, too, should be punished.
Donald Trump has extricated himself from many a tight spot along the campaign trail this year. But he might not be able to get his foot out of this one.
More on Donald Trump at “Which Way America? Compassion With Francis — Or Vitriol With Trump?” More public figures with feet of — clay — at “Will Our Kids Grow Up to Be Cheaters Like Lance Armstrong?”